While not food related per se, the school holidays are almost upon us and the chances are that parents will be thinking about what to do to entertain a raft of small people for something like six weeks.
Our now six year old (no more Master 5!) is an enthusiastic eater and so any outing has to involve lunch. He loves going in to town and picking somewhere to eat (often determined by whatever is closest!).
The other thing he loves in town is the Museum and in particular the giant squid that you can find by the stairs. You can run up and down the stairs looking at that squid for quite a long time …
At the moment, South Australians are very lucky because the SA Museum is hosting Curious Beasts: Animal Prints from Dürer to Goya. This showcases the British Museum’s collection of animal prints from the fifteenth century onwards. This was a time when Europeans were exploring the world and combining this adventure with scientific curiosity. Needless to say, many of the images are somewhat remarkable!
I’ve got a family pass to giveaway – so this is some free school holiday entertainment! Technically, the competition is open Australia-wide but the exhibition is in Adelaide (until 5 Feb 2017) and there’s no travel included, so not a lot of point unless you’ll be holidaying here before then!
The competition closes on Thursday 15 December – the last day of school term!
I’m super proud and excited to be involved in a wine tasting that’s coming up!
Not the Usual Christmas Suspects is happening on Sunday 4 December at Faraja on King William Road. It will be featuring wines from small, South Australian producers (and rumour has it there will be cider too!).
These guys are all small – and by small, I mean … very small. Most don’t have cellar doors and you certainly won’t find them in the big-name wine retailers. A lot of the wine is produced in teensy-tiny quantities.
The tasting kicks off at 3pm and runs until 6pm – and tickets are just $15. Children are welcome and obviously there’s no charge for them (there is also the awesome Soutar Park nearby for pre/post tasting running around).
Faraja is putting on some nibbles, there’ll be plenty of wine to taste AND you’ll be able to place orders for the wines you love! If you’re looking to serve or give interesting wines this Christmas and New Year – this is definitely the tasting to attend!
Earlier this year I attended the launch (or is that re-launch?) party for the Woodcroft Hotel. I was sufficiently impressed by the standard of food served at that party that we’ve actually been making a conscious effort to return ever since. As you can see – it’s taken a while … ahem. To be fair, we actually tried to go quite soon after that party only to discover it was booking out very quickly – and this is still very much the case. When I made our last minute 5:30pm booking we were told we would only be able to have the table until 7pm. Good thing we eat with a 5 year old and that wasn’t a problem!
At the launch party, the food had been impressive. It was a large event and the food that came out was all based on menu dishes but cut down to canapé size. I’ve been to a lot of events where smaller versions of dishes have been presented and it’s not uncommon for this change of size to cause problems either in the kitchen on or on the plate. So the fact it didn’t buoyed me with great, and perhaps excessive, confidence and hope.
Finally we made it. Seriously, I have spent MONTHS raving about the fried chicken at the Woodcroft so there was nothing for it but to commit myself and order it. It’s an entrée, so in case it wasn’t enough, I also ordered the pulled pork quesadillas. Andy ordered the chicken tacos. Because I’d ordered two entrées I wasn’t eligible for the salad bar (I could have paid an extra $4 but wasn’t sufficiently bothered) but Andy made a small selection from it. Master 5 opted for the children’s fish and chips. The children’s meals do come with some sliced apple but it is a shame the hotel doesn’t go the extra mile and offer a choice of salad.
The food came out quickly and was all well presented. My first few mouthfuls of the crispy chicken were great – crispy and chicken-y. But at some point, things started to slide downhill. The chicken pieces were relatively large – not in and of itself much of a problem – but in several places, the batter hadn’t been properly drained away and I was left with big doughy chunks of uncooked batter wedged in folds of chicken. It wasn’t great. The batter itself isn’t hugely imbued with seasoning and flavour (it is a buttermilk and spice batter apparently) so the accompanying ranch dressing got a good work out. But the more doughy bits I encountered, the more disappointed I was.
The pulled pork quesadillas were better and I did enjoy them, although they didn’t really step beyond the boundaries of what we relatively often cook at home. The salsa fresca was a bit ho-hum – a touch sweet for me – but it also wasn’t a necessary part of the dish.
Andy was similarly underwhelmed by his chicken tacos.
I think this experience amply demonstrates the problem with expectations. I’m sure over time that crispy chicken has got better and better and it was possibly always going to struggle to live up to my memory of it – but I do believe the doughy clumps of batter to be an error in cooking (and not just my imagination!).
The service was great – not just friendly and efficient but genuinely warm. The bistro area is lovely and the small garden area is gorgeous – so if you do go, get organised, book early and request a spot there! And the bistro is obviously immensely popular. On the Saturday night we were there there were at least two birthday parties booked and, after we sat down at 5:30pm, only one walk-in got a table. Everyone else was turned away.
It’s clear that the Woodcroft has hit its straps with locals and that is no doubt indicative of the fact that the southern suburbs have the capacity to host more venues offering more diverse menus. For me, though, the food just didn’t live up to expectations.